COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Pharmacy participation in Phase 2A – call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from community pharmacies

The Expression of Interest submission process closed on 19 February 2021. No submissions can be accepted after this deadline.

Providing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines to everyone living in Australia seeking to be vaccinated is a key priority of the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Community pharmacies are a critical partner in achieving this goal by providing comprehensive immunisation coverage for their local populations.

All section 90 community pharmacies were invited to submit an EOI to participate in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to priority populations from Phase 2A onwards of the national rollout strategy, planned to commence from May 2021.  The EOI process will be managed by the Pharmacy Programs Administrator (PPA) on behalf of the Department of Health.

The Department of Health has engaged the PPA to coordinate the EOI process.

The PPA emailed a link to an online EOI response form to community pharmacies with an account on the PPA Portal on 5 February 2021. The online response form required pharmacies to: 

  • Provide information regarding their capability, including a response as to whether they meet, or will meet, the site readiness requirements provided at Attachment A
  • Submit information regarding their capacity, including information such as opening hours, staffing levels and estimated number of vaccines able to be administered daily
  • Provide a declaration in relation to the responses included in the EOI.

The PPA worked collaboratively with the Department to consider each EOI. All submissions underwent a robust initial assessment process.

The process identified the need for further clarification of the responses provided by a significant number of pharmacies. Clarification information required from these pharmacies related to the ATAGI Site Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccination in Community Pharmacies.

On 13 April 2021, all pharmacies who submitted an EOI were emailed and informed if any clarification was required. This process was completed on 20 April 2021.

Following the completion of the clarification process, all pharmacies who participated in the EOI process received an initial outcome notification from the PPA on 30 April 2021.

Submission outcomes have been provided to the Department of Health. It is important to note that a determination of ‘suitable’ does not necessarily mean your pharmacy will be immediately selected to participate.  This advice is provided having noted the following included in the Media Statement following the National Cabinet meeting on 22 April 2021:

States and territories can choose to incorporate community pharmacies (which were originally due to commence from Phase 2a) into their roll-out plans in rural and remote areas where there are no or limited other points of presence. National Cabinet agreed that the broader role of community pharmacies in the national rollout is deferred.

The PPA advises that at this stage we don’t have any information about state/territory decisions regarding community pharmacy participation in the immediate period ahead. 

If and when individual pharmacies are selected to participate in the rollout, the PPA will email you providing notification and necessary additional information to enable commencement of participation.

Timeline 

Date Milestone
1 February 2021 Information on EOI process and requirements published on Health website and PPA website
5 February 2021 EOI process opened / Link to EOI response form sent
Midnight AEDT, 19 February 2021 EOI close date / Last date for submitting EOI responses
19 March 2021 Initial assessment process completed
20 April 2021 Clarification process completed
30 April 2021 EOI initial outcome notification to pharmacies
May 2021 Final assessment activities to commence

 

 

 

EOI Outcome FAQs

  1. No. The PPA was tasked with facilitating the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for the COVID-19 vaccination program on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health (Department).

    EOI assessment process has now been completed by the PPA and applications deemed suitable have been progressed to the Department for potential selection for participation in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

  2. The PPA advises that at this stage it does not have any information about state/territory decisions regarding community pharmacy participation in the immediate period ahead.

  3. No. Pharmacies should not advertise or announce their involvement in the program or commence taking vaccination bookings at this stage as they still need to be selected by the Department before they are eligible to begin participating in the roll out.

    The PPA advises that at this stage it does not have any information about state/territory decisions regarding community pharmacy participation in the immediate period ahead.

  4. If and when pharmacies are selected by the Department to participate in the rollout, the PPA will email the individual pharmacies providing notification and necessary additional information to enable commencement of participation.

  5. Not Suitable responses were allocated to pharmacies that either indicated in their EOI response that they did not currently meet one or more of the ATAGI Site Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccination in Community Pharmacies as outlined in Attachment A of the Department’s EOI document, and where they did not provide a satisfactory explanation of how they planned to meet the requirement/s in future, or did not submit their clarification response.

    Reviews of EOI outcomes are not available at this stage. Additional rollouts may allow for pharmacies to submit new applications should their circumstances change, however it should be noted that this is not guaranteed, and pharmacies should not assume this will occur.

    The PPA notes that Exceptional Circumstance requests are not available for the EOI process.

  6. No. All EOI responses were finalised through the clarification process on 20 April 2021. No further updates can be made at this time.

    Additional rollouts may allow for pharmacies to submit new applications should their circumstances change, however it should be noted that this is not guaranteed, and pharmacies should not assume this will occur.

    The PPA notes that Exceptional Circumstance requests are not available for the EOI process.

  7. EOI outcome emails have been sent to both the Main Authorised Person’s (MAP’s) Contact email and the Contact person’s email address (if different to the MAP email) you provided in the EOI response form.

    Please ensure you have checked your Junk inbox or Promotional Folder (if using a gmail account).

     If you have not received a EOI outcome email to either of these email addresses by Monday, 3 May 2021, please contact the PPA on 1800 951 285 or support@ppaonline.com.au

You can access the EOI document prepared by the Department of Health here.

Please note that you should not complete Attachment B of the PDF and send it to the PPA, a personalised online form to complete and submit will be emailed to you on Friday 5 February 2021.

For further EOI FAQs; please see the following link.

Please note that the PDF will be updated as new information becomes available so please regularly review this document.